OONI of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has cautioned members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) against taking the laws into their hands as tension rises across the country in response to the activities of Fulani cattle herdsmen.
Over recent years, herdsmen have created widespread panic across Nigeria as their cattle destroy farms and eat crops, ruining many farmers. When communities have protested against this, the heavily-armed herdsmen have attacked them with AK47s and machetes, leaving trails of destruction and devastation.
Emboldened by the failure and refusal of the government to act against them, these herdsmen have become more brazen by the day. Exasperated with the mayhem, several states have outlawed open grazing and across Nigeria, there is now a deafening call for ranches to be made compulsory, so cattle no longer roam around the countryside and in villages, towns and cities.
Tension has been particularly high across the southwest geo-political zone after herdsmen killed diasporan farmer Dr Fatai Aborode in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State. His death lead to Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho issuing a seven day quit notice to the herdsmen to leave the area, after which they were forcefully evicted.
Following the success of the Ibarapa eviction, numerous communities across the southwest have solicited the help of Mr Adeyemo in removing the herdsmen within their midst. Fulani herdsmen are renown for carrying out very violent crimes across Nigeria, including kidnapping, armed robbery, rape and banditry.
Earlier this month, things escalated after northerners were attacked at Sasha market in Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State. This attack on Fulani’s working in the market led to a loss of lives and the destruction of property.
Seeking to ease the tension, Oba Ogunwusi urged the OPC who recently paid him a courtesy visit led by its president, Prince Osibote in his palace, to be law-abiding. He described the association as a great promoter of Yoruba tradition, ethics and principles.
Oba Ogunwusi said: “Do not involve yourself in extrajudicial practices that could create more problems than we are trying to solve. For the sake of the sweet memories of your late founder, Frederick Fasehun, I am appealing to all of you to have a rallying point so that you can be united.
“You can have several leaders all over, what I am appealing for is unity of purpose and common interest toward developing the Yoruba nation. If you know the meaning of the name Oduduwa, you would place it high above all forms of selfish interests, so I urge you all to be conscious of your words and actions because the people out there are watching.”
Prince Osibote, who said that the OPC is made up of responsible persons, said he believed in the one Nigeria project. He added: “I have told my followers and I will like to state it again unequivocally that I am only interested in the peace and development of the Yoruba race.
“I am not a politician and would never be involved in politics. We have come to greet our baba to receive his blessings and also assure him that we will continue to support him.”